Virtual Worlds
Education Conference

June 5 – 8, 2017 | Melbourne, Florida

About the Conference

The 2017 VWE Conference, the first in an NSF-funded series of events related to virtual learning environments, addresses the opportunities, requirements and challenges of teaching undergraduate STEM courses in virtual worlds. Based on the growing interest in virtual worlds, now is an excellent time to conduct conferences involving virtual world researchers, developers, and practitioners. The purpose of this conference series is to bring together this community in order to share their knowledge and experiences, build professional relationships, and address the challenges of teaching using virtual worlds in college-level STEM courses, ultimately moving the field forward.

Click here to learn more about travel and accommodations for the 2017 VWE Conference. There is no registration fee for attending or participating in this conference.


Conference Organizers

Photo of Kurt Winkelmann and his Second Life avatarDr. Kurt Winkelmann is an associate professor in the Chemistry Department at Florida Tech. His research interests include the use of virtual worlds in the chemistry teaching lab and curriculum design for chemistry and nanotechnology laboratory courses. Most recently, he led an NSF-funded study to compare general chemistry lab experiments performed in Second Life and in a real laboratory setting. Students found the Second Life experiments to be enjoyable and they earned grades equal to or better than their peers performing analogous experiments in the real world. Overall, the Second Life experiments had a more positive effect on women than men, leading to them have a more favorable view of the chemistry laboratory experience overall. Read about the project's preliminary results here and view a short video featuring Dr. Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt, project coPI.

Jungwoo RyooDr. Jungwoo Ryoo is a professor of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Penn State Altoona. His research interests include the use of virtual worlds in cyber security education. He leads the NSF PI Forum on Virtual Environments and Game-Based Learning (GBL) in the Classroom. His NSF-funded project entitled “Immersive Security Education Environment (I-SEE)” explored teaching and learning cyber security concepts in 3D virtual environments such as Second Life and Open Simulator. The findings from this research are available in the article Security Education Using Second Life published in IEEE Security and Privacy. Dr. Ryoo is also the PI of an ongoing NSF project whose goal is to build a big data analytics workforce in iSchools. Learn more about the second conference in this series which Dr. Ryoo is organizing.


Florida Tech

Founded at the dawn of the Space Race in 1958, Florida Tech is the only independent, technological university in the Southeast. ranks graduates’ mid-career median salaries in first place among Florida’s universities, and lists Florida Tech among the top 20 universities in the South – both public and private. The university has been named a Barron’s Guide “Best Buy” in College Education, designated a Tier 1 Best National University in U.S. News & World Report, and is one of just nine schools in Florida lauded by the Fiske Guide to Colleges. In 2016, Times Higher Education ranked Florida Tech one of the top 20 small universities in the world and named it one of the top universities in the United States. Florida Tech offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. Fields of study include science, engineering, aeronautics, business, humanities, mathematics, cybersecurity, psychology, communication and education.

Florida Institute of Technology’s mission is to provide high-quality education to a culturally diverse student body in order to prepare students for entering the global workforce, seeking higher-education opportunities, and serving within their communities. The university also seeks to expand knowledge through basic and applied research and to serve the diverse economic, cultural, and societal needs of our local, state, national and international constituencies.